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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » This "Curing" Autism thing is going too far! (Page 1)

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Author Topic: This "Curing" Autism thing is going too far!
Synesthesia
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http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/05/25/selling-bleach-as-a-cure-for-autism/
http://thewelshboyo.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/bleachgate/
http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2012/05/mms-or-how-to-cure-autism-with-bleach-brought-to-you-by-autismone/


This is seriously sickening and something has to be done about this. Giving something that is industrial bleach to autistic children! These folks claim that it will cure autism. Not only are they ripping parents off, but these kids could die from this stuff. This is going too far. There is no way this is acceptable. Is autism so horrible that you have to bleach it out of them?

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Foust
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My goodness, that is terrible. What do you expect from quacks, though?
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Jeff C.
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Well, I mean, you know...if they're dirty...


Kidding!

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Rakeesh
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I suspect something probably is being done about it, when the authorities become aware it's being done. Applying industrial bleach in pretty much any way to a child would be a bit of a red flag.
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MattP
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I dunno. I've been reading about this for years. One of the blogs linked is from 2010. As long as crazy people think it might help their sick kids, someone is going to keep trying it and suggesting that others do the same.
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Rakeesh
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Oh, well sure. Desperate parents and relatives preyed upon by unscrupulous con artists won't ever be stopped but that's not quite the same thing as nothing being done about it.
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Samprimary
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Yeah the Miracle Bleach Solution is pretty goddamned horriblarious. That's my fun word for something which is horrible but surreal enough to inspire nervous, pained laughter and the insanity of it all.

The "testimonials" are just like

quote:
My 14YO son has autism. I’ve been treating him with a parasite cleanse system for 1.5 years (5 days on, 2 days off). He’s made some remarkable improvements, but every time I try to wean him off the cleanse, the parasite symptoms flare up. He is nonverbal and fairly low-functioning, so I don’t get any feedback from him as to how he is feeling. Last week, I started him on 1 drop of MMS then upped the dose to 1 drop, 2x a day this week. After about 4 days at 2 drops/day, he vomited once and had diarrhea all day. I am assuming it is the MMS. I decided to drop down to 1 drop/day again until he gets beyond this. He tends to have loose stools anyway, which I am guessing is related to this ongoing battle with the parasites. His gut tends to be very sensitive to anything I give him, so I have to go very carefully with anything new like the MMS. I am still giving him the other parasite cleanse (Systemic Formulas VRM 1-4). I would love to hear anyone’s ideas or insight into this. I am working with a homeopath who has done extensive research into parasite cleanses, but she has not researched MMS. I’m looking to get my son beyond these parasites once and for all. My homeopath and her colleagues are autism experts and do consults with parents from around the world. They have found that the children with autism who are considered “tough nuts” tend to also be parasite kids. With their compromised immune systems, it is difficult to eradicate parasites.
YOU SEE, THE SYMPTOMS ARE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM WAKING UP THAT JUST MEANS ITS WORKING
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MattP
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Speaking of the horriblariousness, someone noted on one of the blogs that it's very possible that the chems they are "treating" their kids with are contaminated with mercury.
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CT
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Bleach is (rarely, but appropriately) used diluted in bath water to help clear certain skin bacteria with infected eczema. Don't do this unless under the supervision of a professional.

bleach baths

That is different from taking it orally, though. I hope someone is involved who will protect these children.

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Samprimary
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Merely taking a bath in it and not feeding bleach to your children and giving them bleach enemas is in fact quite different, and won't cure the autism parasites. it is the SECRET health fix that doctors don't want you to know about!
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Kwea
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I feel sick and angry all at the same time.
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The Rabbit
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I agree with everything everyone has said in this thread but when I saw "curing" in quotes in the title, it reminded me of the people who insist that Autism isn't a disability or disorder that should be treated or cured. I strongly disagree, particularly if we are talking about the more severe forms of the disorder.

Treating kids by administering bleach internally is wrong for a dozen reasons that have nothing to do with how bad Autism is. It would be just as wrong if people were doing it to treat cancer or polio, maybe even worse because treating a kid with cancer with bleach most likely means forgoing a proven treatment that is much more likely to actually help.

The fact that some quacks are trying to poison autistic children in the name of "curing autism", should not be seen as evidence that all efforts to treat or cure autism are equally misguided.

Scientific research to better understand, treat and possibly cure people who suffer from autism should not be disparaged in any way because of the misguided actions of these quacks.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by CT:
Bleach is (rarely, but appropriately) used diluted in bath water to help clear certain skin bacteria with infected eczema. Don't do this unless under the supervision of a professional.

bleach baths

That is different from taking it orally, though. I hope someone is involved who will protect these children.

Wouldn't it be considered child abuse if you made your kid drink shampoo? How is this any different?
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Samprimary
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See it's not child abuse this time around because something blah blah blah naturopathy homeopathy blah blah alternate medicine blah blah fascist state can't make starchild go through chemo for hodkins lymphoma when this mexican doctor says that the medical establishment is hiding that cancer is cured with vitamin c and herbs blah blah how dare you impose your views upon our family something something religious or cultural protections because we ~really believe~ blah blah addendum blah
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The Rabbit
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Samp Rimary, Where do you draw the line? Should parents of a seriously ill child have no say in the treatment? Should they be limited to the FDA approved options? Does it matter how reliable the mainstream treatment is? What if there isn't any established treatment for the condition? Should parents be allowed to enroll their kid in an experimental treatment? Does it matter whether the experiment has been government approved. To the best of my knowledge, there is no proven effective medical treatment for Autism. Would you blame a parent who tried a fad diet or some mixture of probiotics to see if they help?

Maybe you see an obvious place to draw the line, I don't, but I'm quite confident that forcing your child to drink bleach, a known poison, is no where close to that line.

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Samprimary
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I don't see an obvious place to draw the line either, it's just that a lot of what would nominally just be considered child abuse if it wasn't practiced specifically under the auspices of being 'alternate' or 'new age' medicine (and sometimes still is judged abuse when CPS gets off its ass) gets a sort of a free pass for being a spiritual/alternative practice that should be respected, and I think this is a bubble of specific protective coverage that should be hemmed back into the normal field of what is considered abuse. In other words, if doing X to a child is considered abuse in other circumstances, no specific allowance is given for it not being abuse just because it is being done as a sort of alternate/spiritualist medicine practice. No special privileges to be a negligent dip of a parent just because you are part of the Christian Scientists, or His Holiness Brahma-Lama Lars Hippie Naropa III's special new-age star-LSD new age cult that treats cancer with crushed leaf petals.

To note, Starchild is kind of a specific example. His parents got him invested with the Hoxsey herbal cancer 'cure' and I'm sure pictures of him today (assuming he survived the otherwise readily treatable cancer) would show him with a scarred face from useless herbal topical pastes.

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The Rabbit
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I hate to say it, but the basic idea behind this treatment isn't as totally crazy as it sounds. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that gut microflora play an important role in autism spectrum disorders. Fecal transplants are being studied as a treatment for a number of digestive disorders and there are responsible scientists and medical professional who think it might prove to be an effective treatment for autism.

It's also potentially really dangerous. It should be on near the top of everyone's "don't try this at home" list, right under open heart surgery and kidney transplants.

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Samprimary
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quote:
I hate to say it, but the basic idea behind this treatment isn't as totally crazy as it sounds.
Really, because it sounds like 'feeding children bleach in a completely unproven alternative health regimen with no documented scientific basis for benefit, to try to cure their neurological state'
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
I hate to say it, but the basic idea behind this treatment isn't as totally crazy as it sounds.
Really, because it sounds like 'feeding children bleach in a completely unproven alternative health regimen with no documented scientific basis for benefit, to try to cure their neurological state'
What these people are doing is crazy, but there is some documented scientific basis for benefit, believe it or not. Go check pubmed for recent research on gut micro-flora and autism. You can also do a search for "fecal transplant".

For a "fecal transplants" or "fecal bacteriotherapy", they treat you with potent antimicrobials to kill off all the bacteria in your gut and then inject you with fecal material from a healthy donor. Reputable doctors in top US hospitals are really and truly injecting people with someone else's poop. Believe it or not, this is not whacked out alternative medicine. There is a sound scientific basis behind it. It's getting published in major scientific journals and is about to go mainstream in the US for treating things like C. diff and IBD.

I must emphasize that no reputable studies have been done on using fecal transplants for treating autism. There are studies which have identified abnormalities in gut microflora that could cause some types of autism. There are responsible scientists and medical professionals who are talking about the possibility that in the future when it is better understood, fecal transplants might be an effective treatment for some types of autism.

Don't get me wrong. Anyone recommending that autistic kids can be cured by drinking bleach is crazy and dangerous. And any parent trying this at home is abusing their child.

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Belle
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Rabbit, that is well and truly fascinating.

Thanks for sharing. <---said in a sincere, not at all sarcastic tone

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Samprimary
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yeah, no! I am only talking about the bleach thing. I know that there are other things being investigated to replace fecal flora and see if that has a positive change in neural development, but to compare that to the bleach thing, it's like hearing that they use radiation therapy to treat some things and then putting your kid in a microwave for ten seconds because it's kind of the same thing right
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by CT:
Bleach is (rarely, but appropriately) used diluted in bath water to help clear certain skin bacteria with infected eczema. Don't do this unless under the supervision of a professional.

bleach baths

That is different from taking it orally, though. I hope someone is involved who will protect these children.

Wouldn't it be considered child abuse if you made your kid drink shampoo? How is this any different?
Is it child abuse when you wash your kid's mouth out with soap?

My parents did it [Frown]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
yeah, no! I am only talking about the bleach thing. I know that there are other things being investigated to replace fecal flora and see if that has a positive change in neural development, but to compare that to the bleach thing, it's like hearing that they use radiation therapy to treat some things and then putting your kid in a microwave for ten seconds because it's kind of the same thing right

You'll get no argument on that from me.

I never said the bleach thing wasn't totally crazy. In fact, I kept repeating that it was absolutely crazy. What I said was that the underlying premise behind the bleach thing isn't as crazy at it might sound.

On the face of it, the idea that you could cure a disease by giving the patient a potent poison and then injecting them with someone else's poop sounds about as crazy as it gets.

But there is some sound scientific reasoning behind it and the preliminary experiments indicate its going to work for at least some diseases.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by CT:
Bleach is (rarely, but appropriately) used diluted in bath water to help clear certain skin bacteria with infected eczema. Don't do this unless under the supervision of a professional.

bleach baths

That is different from taking it orally, though. I hope someone is involved who will protect these children.

Wouldn't it be considered child abuse if you made your kid drink shampoo? How is this any different?
Is it child abuse when you wash your kid's mouth out with soap?

My parents did it [Frown]

That depends on what kind of soap they used and how much you end up ingesting. If we are talking about just enough to taste, I don't think its abuse. If they made you eat the whole bar, that would be abuse.
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Synesthesia
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I'm sorry, but I do not buy the whole brain gut autism theory. Wakefield proposed something like that and he's been debunked. I'm not saying don't treat autism with treatments that are shown to work, but many autistic people, even so-called low functioning people don't WANT to be cured. I sure as hell don't. The sensory issues suck, but on the other hand, I like how my brain works. I think there needs to be more understanding of autistic people instead of forcing cures down our throat. Why not try to understand how autistic people think? Autism could be a part of the human spectrum and worth understanding instead of wiping out. Even low functioning people can be intelligent despite not being able to speak. Besides stuff like this, the pure inaccuracies spouted about autism are enough to make me crazy. Like autistic people not having empathy? Not true. There's a theory going around about autism being more like intense world syndrome. It does fit with my experiences...
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Kwea
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I have a cousin with Autism, and he is fairly high functioning.....but he will have to be in a special home from the rest of his life. He is in a group home with a roommate, and there are 4 rooms to a councilor. He gets occupational therapy 3 times a week, and he manages all his own finances, but help is always available.

It depends on the person, Syn, and their symptoms. I don't agree that it isn't something to be cured. I'd help Tony find a cure in a heartbeat if one was possible.

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aspectre
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Radically changing intestinal microflora definitely fits under "don't try this at home."
The first stage involves taking dangerously high levels and mixtures of antibiotics under very close monitoring. And the second involves fecal matter transplants to fairly specific points deep within the intestines under very close monitoring.
THEN very close medical monitoring until the patient is deemed healthy.

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aspectre
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Carly Fleischmann: formerly "mentally deficient" teen unravels some mysteries about her autism via highly intelligent computer commentary.

[ June 01, 2012, 07:16 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Synesthesia
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The thing is, you got to wonder what the autistic individual wants. Does Tony WANT to be cured? Life with autism isn't easy, but people tend to focus more on the it's so tragic aspects more than the whole picture.
And the leave people with autism out of the dialogue altogether. In my case, as difficult as my sensory issues are, I am not sure that microflora thing is worth it. No, definitely not. Ew. Autistic people's brains work in unusual and interesting ways. I wish there were more focus on that, and less on trying to wipe us out.

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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by CT:
Bleach is (rarely, but appropriately) used diluted in bath water to help clear certain skin bacteria with infected eczema. Don't do this unless under the supervision of a professional.

bleach baths

That is different from taking it orally, though. I hope someone is involved who will protect these children.

Wouldn't it be considered child abuse if you made your kid drink shampoo? How is this any different?
I am puzzled as to why you directed this at me, The Rabbit. I am not promoting giving bleach orally to children. I am criticizing it.

[I read someone above as suggesting] that using bleach in any form on children was inappropriate. It isn't -- as this is standard medical practice with certain limited dermatologic concerns -- but even in that limited case of exception, the circumstances in no way justified this. Which was what I said.

Was this unclear? I did not mean it to be. I do not want to be misread in this.

[ June 01, 2012, 09:04 AM: Message edited by: CT ]

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mr_porteiro_head
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You were not unclear.
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CT
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I am heartened. [Smile]
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The Rabbit
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CT, You were not unclear and I didn't intend to direct my remark to you. I quoted you because I thought my observation followed out of what you said. It was an intended to be read as a rhetorical question to emphasize that
lot's of common stuff that is just fine to use externally would be dangerous to take internally.

Sorry about the confusion. You were perfectly clear but I was not.

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CT
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I am further heartened. [Smile]

I had the soul-rending experience of seeing myself as The One Who Wants You to Serve Bleach for Dinner.

Ayyyrrraargh. Eeep.

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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by CT:
I am further heartened. [Smile]

I had the soul-rending experience of seeing myself as The One Who Wants You to Serve Bleach for Dinner.


Crap! :: changes CT's title on sake from "The One Who Wants You to Serve Bleach for Dinner" back to "Resident" ::
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zgator
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aspectre that was a beautiful video. Thanks for posting that.
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CT
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Jake: [ROFL]
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
The thing is, you got to wonder what the autistic individual wants. Does Tony WANT to be cured? Life with autism isn't easy, but people tend to focus more on the it's so tragic aspects more than the whole picture.
And the leave people with autism out of the dialogue altogether.

To be fair, including them in the dialog is pretty tough to do with people who are incapable of dialog.

[ June 01, 2012, 11:48 AM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I'm not saying don't treat autism with treatments that are shown to work, but many autistic people, even so-called low functioning people don't WANT to be cured. I sure as hell don't. The sensory issues suck, but on the other hand, I like how my brain works. I think there needs to be more understanding of autistic people instead of forcing cures down our throat.
Its fantastic whenever people are able to learn to like themselves and the idiosyncrasies that are part of who they are, but if you've suffered from autism -- how can you know whether or not you want to be cured? How can you know whether or not you'd like the way your brain worked better or worse if you were "cured" until you've tried it?

People with disabilities, particular those who been disabled since early childhood, very commonly underestimate the severity of their disability because they have nothing to compare to. If you've never been able to hear, you have no idea what you are missing. Even if you are able to function extremely well, you really have no idea how much easier it would be if you could hear what other people hear.

People with disabilities, particularly people with cognitive disabilities, often just aren't in a good position to make reasonable choices about the disability. People with serious debilitating mental illnesses often don't want to be treated when they are having a manic episode, but see things differently once the disease is under control. Drug addicts and alcoholics often don't want to be cured or treated either. Should we just shrug our shoulder and say that as long as they like the way their brains work we should just try to be understanding? Do you think would be wrong for the family and friends of an alcoholic to pressure them to receive treatment? Do you think it would be wrong to try to force someone who was having a psychotic break into treatment?

In our society, adults have the right to refuse medical treatment even if they are mentally ill or alcoholics (with in certain bounds), I see no reason that a high functioning person with autism should be treated differently. But having the legal right to refuse and expecting others to respect that choice are not the same thing.

There is no way that reasoning should be extended to children and mentally incompetent adults with autism. Parents have the right to physically force a child to take medicine. On more than one occasion, I've watched parents pin a young child to the ground and hold their mouths shut until they swallowed when they wouldn't take a needed medication. Why should a kid with autism have more right to choose their medical treatment than a kid with an ear ache? Parents and society have an obligation to care for people who aren't mentally mature and competent enough to decide for themselves.

I don't mean to insult you by the comparing autistic people the mentally ill, drug addicts and two year olds. I was picking extreme examples to make a point that people aren't always in a position to judge what's best for them. You are absolutely right that people should try harder to understand and accept people with autism. Right now, the only other option is to ostracize them or isolate them because there isn't an effective treatment.

But answer me this, if there were a completely reversible treatment for autism that would let you experience what it would be like to be "cured", wouldn't you want to try it? If you knew you had the choice to go back to exactly how you are now, why wouldn't you want to try it?

If there were a completely reversible treatment with no lasting effects that would allow me to experience what it was like to have autism, I'd certainly give it a whirl. Even though I confident I wouldn't want to be that way permanently, giving it a try would help me understand those who suffer from the disease and give me a new perspective on the world and people.

[ June 04, 2012, 01:33 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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Samprimary
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http://i.imgur.com/NQtLy.png

Coming to a medical journal near you: Dr. CT's Miracle Bleach Cure

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Synesthesia
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Dude. You're talking about people who are adults. Shouldn't they have some sort of control over their lives? No wonder I like neurodiversity so much. Hell no would I want a cure. The sensory issues are a pain, but the same thing that makes me cover my ears in pain from loud noises makes awesome music awesome. I suspect that that the autism and synesthesia I have are linked. Folks should borrow my brain for a while. You get to see music without doing drugs.
It would be from hell to have a so-called cure forced on me. Or to have my autonomy taken away. I'm not saying don't help and treat people, but there's just this way autism is viewed by non-autistic people that is enough to drive me up a tree. If there's one thing useful about being verbal or being able to write is being able to write down your experiences. I suggest reading Amanda Bagg's perspective. She can't speak, but she writes about her experiences and feelings.

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sndrake
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quote:

But answer me this, if there were a completely reversible treatment for autism that would let you experience what it would be like to be "cured", wouldn't you want to try it? If you knew you had the choice to go back to exactly how you are now, why wouldn't you want to try it?

If there were a completely reversible treatment with no lasting effects that would allow me to experience what it was like to have autism, I'd certainly give it a whirl. Even though I confident I wouldn't want to be that way permanently, giving it a try would help me understand those who suffer from the disease and give me a new perspective on the world and people.

(Crawling out of the woodwork...)

Just to put a proper perspective on how very very hypothetical the idea of a 'cure' is for any complex neurological difference after very early in the developmental period, here's something I wrote a few years ago about 'cures' from my personal perspective:

quote:
The brain is an incredibly complex and interconnected system. Whatever thing or things develop differently in the brain of autistic persons don't operate in isolation. There's evidence in both autism and in brain injured people that the brain will reorganize itself and work in radically different ways than originally designed in its efforts to make up for the injury and/or divergent development.

What does this mean in terms of "cure"? To me, it means that if a single element or managable set of them can be isolated, a "cure" can only operate as such if it happens fairly early in the process.

I don't see any way - given the plasticity and compensatory mechanisms that have probably developed in the brain - that you can "flick a switch" and have a suddenly "normal" adult/adolescent/older child with autism.

So, for me, it's not a matter of being "anti-cure" as much as it is a matter of tilting against windmills. And I should explain that to me, there is nothing admirable about tilting against windmills. Don Quixote thought he was fighting giants, which would be admirable. There is no point in fighting windmills. Unlike many people, I see nothing romantic about the story - just a sad parable about wasting your energy on the wrong target.

Most of my neurological issues stem from an initial brain injury at birth and the development of hydrocephalus. My hydrocephalus was 'treated' (and an outlier in terms of the incredible longevity of my shunt) that kept things from getting worse. But I wasn't 'cured' or fixed in terms of the constellation of neuromotor and cognitive issues I have (and I do *not* suffer from them). Pieces can be treated. There are medications for tremor - side effects not worth it. Corrective lenses for doubled vision - of dubious value when it was suggested when I was *50*.

Migraines, though. I *suffer* from those. I'll be the 200th or so in line for the cure for that. (I want to wait to see what happens to the first couple hundred in case there might be some unpleasant 'side effects' no one suspected first.)

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
But answer me this, if there were a completely reversible treatment for autism that would let you experience what it would be like to be "cured", wouldn't you want to try it? If you knew you had the choice to go back to exactly how you are now, why wouldn't you want to try it?
Hypothetical answer:

Because without my condition, I would I really be me? Under the affects of the temporary cure, would I be me, or somebody else? What if that other person chose to keep the cure? Would that be me making the choice, or would it be that other person murdering me?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Dude. You're talking about people who are adults. Shouldn't they have some sort of control over their lives?
I answered that question. Yes, almost all adults, including those with high functioning autism, should be allowed to refuse medical treatment.

quote:
Hell no would I want a cure. The sensory issues are a pain, but the same thing that makes me cover my ears in pain from loud noises makes awesome music awesome. I suspect that that the autism and synesthesia I have are linked. Folks should borrow my brain for a while. You get to see music without doing drugs.
I'm not sure if you are answering my question or not. It seems that you are saying that if there was a treatment that would allow you to experience not being autistic for even a short period of time you would absolutely refuse. Am I understanding you correctly?

You think folks would benefit from borrowing your brain and experiencing the world as you do but are strongly opposed to seeing the world the way they do -- even temporarily. Do I understand that correctly?

You think that if people could experience being autistic for a short time it would change their minds about autism being a disability. Why then do you completely reject the idea that being able to experience not being autistic might change your mind? Why do you think you are more capable of assessing the benefits of not being autistic without experiencing it than a typical person is able to appreciate the benefits of autism without experiencing it?

quote:
Or to have my autonomy taken away
If you couldn't communicate what your wants and needs and you meet those needs without others help, which would be worse: losing your autonomy or being left to die on the street?

quote:
I'm not saying don't help and treat people, but there's just this way autism is viewed by non-autistic people that is enough to drive me up a tree.
I'm not sure what exactly you see as the problem with the way autistic people are treated. I know there is an real problem with the way most people treat people with an obvious disability. Some of that is bigotry, some of its fear, some of its laziness, but I think an awful lot of it is just a natural discomfort with the unfamiliar. Most people simply haven't had enough experience with disabled people to know the socially correct way to act and that makes them nervous and uncomfortable.

I think all these tendencies are amplified when a person has a disability that manifests itself in behavior that is well outside the accepted social norms. I think that's part of our natural biological programming. Humans are social creatures and in order to live safely and harmoniously with other people we have to be able to predict what they are likely to do. We do most of this subconsciously. We assess a persons mood, whether they understood what we've said, whether they they are friendly, happy, excited, irritable, sexually attracted, honest or dangerous by reading their body language along with their verbal responses. Based on those largely subconscious assessments, we predict how people are likely to act when we ask a question, make a joke or offer advice or whether they will yield right of way to us at a stop sign. Clearly some people are lots better at this than others and there is a large range of what's "normal", but for most everyone, when a persons actions and reactions fall outside a certain range of what we expect, it triggers a natural warning system that makes us very uncomfortable or even afraid.

One of the key symptoms of many types of autism is an inability to understand or follow normal social conventions. It's just not reasonable to expect that people will be comfortable and at ease with that unless they know you well. You are asking people to overcome something that evolution has hard wired into us so we can live in social groups.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
But answer me this, if there were a completely reversible treatment for autism that would let you experience what it would be like to be "cured", wouldn't you want to try it? If you knew you had the choice to go back to exactly how you are now, why wouldn't you want to try it?
Hypothetical answer:

Because without my condition, I would I really be me? Under the affects of the temporary cure, would I be me, or somebody else? What if that other person chose to keep the cure? Would that be me making the choice, or would it be that other person murdering me?

Here's another hypothetical:

I want to devote my life to basket weaving, and spend most of my time pursuing this dream. I don't pay attention to much else, because I don't want to be distracted from my goal: learning better methods of weaving baskets.

One day, someone tells me all about the scientific method, cancer, and medical science's search for a cure. Until they told me this, I had no idea people spent time on these issues.

But now I'm consumed with interest. I abandon basket weaving and devote the rest of my life to learning science, and researching cancer.

Am I still me? Have I murdered my old basket weaving self?

What if instead of basketweaver-to-scientist the transformation was from atheist-to-Christian?

We're constantly exposed to new ideas and new information, including entirely new ways of thinking (like the scientific method, or a religion).

If we find one of these new ways of thinking preferable to our old way, so we adopt it and abandon the old one, does that mean we've murdered our old self?

It seems to me we've just changed, in a way that we think is for the better.

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The Rabbit
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sndrake, I don't think I disagree with anything you said. For most of the people suffering from physical or mental disabilities, a real cure is simply not a realistic possibility, at least at this time. That means that as a society, we need to work on assisting people so they are limited as little as possible by their disabilities. We need to recognize that physical and mental limitations are real but often far less serious than people normally expect.

When we first meet someone with obvious impairment, most people tend to over estimate the persons limitations and then as we become familiar we tend to under estimate the need of assistance.

My sister-in-law was in a wheel chair for the last 10 years of her life. When she first had to start using it, she noticed people started ignoring her. They wouldn't look at her directly. When she'd ask a question, the person would answer to her companion instead of her and often talk about her in third person as though she was not there. She had to become assertive and insist that people not treat her as though she was stupid because she needed a wheel chair.

I have another good friend who is legally blind. He compensates so well that it's easy to forget that he struggles doing many things that most of us do easily like recognizing a friend he passes on the street, reading a posted notice or filling out a form.

Some people are able to overcome serious disabilities and even out perform many of us without those limitations. That does not mean the disability isn't real and that they would not benefit from treatment. The fact that some people succeed against the odds, does not mean the odds were never stacked against them.

It's never easy to find the proper balance between respect for a persons abilities and compassion for their limitations. That is doubly difficult when a person doesn't have the expected balance of abilities.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
If we find one of these new ways of thinking preferable to our old way, so we adopt it and abandon the old one, does that mean we've murdered our old self?

It seems to me we've just changed, in a way that we think is for the better.

You've made my point better than I could. Until we have experienced something, we can't know whether or not we would prefer it to what we have now. As human beings we are constantly growing and progressing. We are never exactly the same person today that we were yesterday. Every experience changes who we are in some way.

We can not know whether we really want something unless we can understand what the thing is and how it will change us. If we avoid experiencing new things because they might change who we are, then we must avoid living all together. If we choose to avoid things that are likely to change us, we eliminate any chance that we might become better than we now are.

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Synesthesia
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Maybe for a bit I'd want to think differently (I kind of don't like the use of the word "cured" because I'm not really totally sure there's something WRONG with me), but I like myself the way I am. I like the way I see the world and the way my senses collide together and how good that is when it comes to wonderful music.

I'm not sure if normal exists, but if it is, it doesn't sound very fun. If people can evolve to fear difference, can't they evolve to learn to accept it? You'd think we'd understand this by now anyway. Catch up!
Hi, Sndrake!

Also, autistic people can have extreme empathy, but just not know how to express it in ways that are socially acceptable. Many folks with autism can learn social skills too, but sometimes i wonder if this concept of normal should be expanded just a bit...

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
You've made my point better than I could. Until we have experienced something, we can't know whether or not we would prefer it to what we have now. As human beings we are constantly growing and progressing. We are never exactly the same person today that we were yesterday. Every experience changes who we are in some way.

We can not know whether we really want something unless we can understand what the thing is and how it will change us. If we avoid experiencing new things because they might change who we are, then we must avoid living all together. If we choose to avoid things that are likely to change us, we eliminate any chance that we might become better than we now are.

I dunno, I think you did a fantastic job articulating it in this post. Especially the second paragraph. [Smile]
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Synesthesia
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But what if some things are a part of us and how we see the world? It's not a matter of not changing, to some it would be a matter of losing something that makes you... you.
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